Diane Hubka
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Diane Hubka

North Hollywood, California, United States | INDIE

North Hollywood, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Acoustic

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Jul
22
Diane Hubka @ LACMA - Los Angeles Cnty Museum of Art

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Vocalist Hubka really has put together her "dream" disc. Although a guitarist herself, she opted to enlist the aid of seven world-class guitar players for support and inspiration. I was searching for a way to describe her voice when I heard her version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Winter Moon," with guitarist John Hart. It called to mind my favorite recording of the same by saxophonist Art Pepper. "That's it!" I thought. She sings with the same cool, breathy embouchure of a sax player. The stylistic diversity of the featured guitarists steers her vocalizing down several, diverse paths.

The solo guitar of Gene Bertoncini focuses the listener's attention to the lyrics of "Suddenly" and "The Old New Waltz," co-written by Bertoncini's longtime musical partner, bassist Michael Moore. The aforementioned Hart and Paul Bollenback spur her on into a post­modern bop territory with the tricky turns of "Nothing Like You" and "You Inspire Me," respectively. She demonstrates some fine scat chops on the later. Romero Lubambo brought his "Trio da Paz" into the studios for a trio of Brazilian flavored tunes including "Wave" - with a nice bass solo from Nilson Matta - and the introductory "Love," both up-tempo bossas.

Blossom Dearie's touching "Inside a Silent Tear" swings a bit more slowly, softly and reflectively. Jack Wilkins is both guitarist and composer of "Romance." Jack's voicings and Hubka's voice prove a perfect match on this bittersweet ballad. Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola are one of my favorite guitar pairings, and they provide the requisite bounce to "Blue Moon" and "Sunday in New York." Talk about knowing how to support a soloist!

A final note...In reference to a statement made in the review above, Ms. Hubka's CD has this month's rendition of "Nuages." But do you want to know something'? Her interpretation (with excellent lyrics by our friend Frank Forte) really puts a new spin on the old classic. Django masters Pizzarelli and Vignola are the inspiration for this one as well. - 20th Century Guitar 12/02


We rarely review vocalists. Howewer, when I saw that Diane Hubka has surrounded herself with seven of the best guitarists (Gene Bertoncini, Paul Bollenback, John Hart, Romero Lubambo, Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Jack Wilkins) I had to check it out. I'm glad I did.

This is her third CD. Her first. "Haven't We Met" with Lee Konitz was nominated for a 1999 Jazz award for best recording debut of the year. She has performed at the Blue Note, Birdland, Knitting Gallery and Washington's Blues Alley. This CD showcases her talents in a variety of settings - solo guitar, guitar duo, guitar, bass and drums.

There are 13 cuts on this 61 minute CD ranging from "Nuages," (with lyrics by JJG contributor Dr. Frank Forte), to "Wave," "Blue Moon," "Sunday in New York" and a beautiful original by Jack Wilkins and Marc Puricelli titled "Romance."

The CD kicks off with a swinging version of the Blaine/Martin tune, "Love" backed by Romero Lubambo and his Trio da Paz. Ms. Hubka vocals glide over the uptempo rendition of this rarely recorded tune. Bucky PizzareHi and Frank Vignola give a lesson in rhythm playing and tasty improvisation on "Blue Moon" - another swinging tune performed with style and taste by Ms. Hubka. If your toes aren't tapping here then you've got a problem.

Bucky and Frank join up once again to back up Diane on a beautiful vocal version of the Gypsy jazz standard, "Nuages" and "Sunday in New York." Gene Bertoncini, the nylon string master, is featured on two cuts, "Suddenly" and "The Old New Waltz." John Hebert on bass and Jeff Hirshfield on drums keep the music moving along in an understated fashion. This is a CD that exudes taste, class and superb musicianship. - Just Jazz Guitar Magazine 8/02


Diane Hubka's adventurous spirit continues on her third CD as the singer works with seven different guitarists in a variety of settings, with the occasional addition of bass and drums. She once again leans toward less-familiar songs or those that haven't been recorded quite so often. The sweet-voiced singer is consistently stimulated by the first-rate musicians on every track. The phenomenal Latin guitarist Romero Lubambo provides the pulse beneath Hubka's confident delivery in "Love," with bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Dudua da Fonseca (also known collectively as Trio Da Paz). Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola mesh beautifully on a swinging "Blue Moon," Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" (with a playful, brand new lyric by Dr. Frank Forte), and the effervescent "Sunday in New York," where Hubka's singing could lift the darkest cloud. John Hart, an asset on Hubka's first two releases, is joined by bassist John Hebert and drummer Jeff Hirschfield for the vocalist's haunting interpretation of "Winter Moon" and a freewheeling take of "Nothing Like You." Paul Bollenback is on hand (along with Hebert and Hirschfield) for the snappy "You Inspire Me" and an overlooked gem by Henry Mancini, "Moment to Moment." Jack Wilkins brought along an original, the touching ballad "Romance." But with all of the captivating music within this outstanding CD, it is Hubka's treatment of "The Old New Waltz" (a gorgeous ballad by Michael Moore with bittersweet lyrics by Frank Reilly), with impeccable accompaniment by the matchless Gene Bertoncini, that stands atop this baker's dozen of memorable performances. Jazz singers rarely reach the heights of this outstanding CD.
- All Music Guide - 4 1/2 Stars!


This is Diane Hubka's second album for The Netherlands' A-Records. Even more than on her first album, she avoids the classic standards favored by many contemporary singers. Instead the play list is dominated by "off-beat" songs, i.e., tunes that don't get that much recording attention even though composed by well-known writers like Richard Rodgers, Jobim and Jules Styne. This is risky, requiring a lot of confidence to pull it off. Hubka obviously has this confidence, because this is as entertaining an album as has hit the streets for quite a while with not a single bad track.

"In Walked John", Malachi Thompson's lyrical tribute to John Coltrane, is one of the highlights. Hubka's delivery is straight forward but compelling while everyone gets an oppor­tunity to stretch out to pay their homage to Coltrane. Especially commanding is Scott Whifield's trombone solo and Frank Kimbrough's piano. Kimbrough's piano is the grout which keeps everything in place on this recording session. "Never Never Land" (somewhere between Oz and Wonderland it sounds like), has a fairy tale aura about it. Along with Hubka's delicate phrasing, there's an extended solo by guitarist John Hart with Tony Moreno's drums providing energetic punctuation in support.

Hubka shows that she is no slouch with a guitar as she honors one of her mentors, Bob Dorough, on "Small Day Tomorrow". With Hart's guitar dispensing complementing chords, Hubka goes blues with Hoagv Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole". Meredith d'Ambrosio, another singer who explores distinctive material, is recognized as Hubka does her composition, "August Moon".

There are many other musical virtues here which make this an attractive disk, not the least of which are the pleasant Hubka crystal clear voice, her impeccable phrasing and the spirited interplay between Hubka and the ensemble. But perhaps most critical is the balance she strikes between straight singing and wordless vocalizing and scatting. She doesn't scat on every tune but when she does, it becomes a tasteful contribution to the lyrical message she is conveying. This album is highly recommended.
- All Music Guide


East-Coast vocalist Diane Hubka possesses an unadorned singing style that is perfect for ballads such as "Lazy After­noon" and "Alone Together," But when it's time to accelerate the tempo, she's totally able and adept. An excellent improviser, she capably handles the angularly complex lines of "Israel," enriched by the searing alto sax of Lee Konitz, who also guests on Jobim's "Favela" and "Detour Ahead." The core quartet of pianist Frank Kimbrough, guitarist John Hart, bassist Harvie Swartz and drummer Ron Vincent are superb throughout, particularly on Kenny Rankin's title track. - Jazz Times


Discography

CDs:

You Inspire Me
"Exudes taste, class and superb musicianship."
- Ed Benson, JUST JAZZ GUITAR

Look No Further
Top Ten New Issues Poll 2001!
"Her relaxed, poised and intelligent practice of the vocal Jazz art make this release a second absolute slam dunk for her."
- Alan Bargebuhr, CADENCE

Haven't We Met?
Jazz Award Nominee: Best Recording Debut!
"An excellent improviser, enriched by the searing alto sax of Lee Konitz"
- Patricia Myers, JAZZTIMES

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Diane Hubka is an engaging performer whether accompanying herself on seven-string guitar or leading an ensemble. With a swinging, sophisticated sound, she displays both a respect for traditional form and a flair for innovative styling. Diane casts a wide net for her material, with a refeshingly eclectic repertoire that includes many lesser known jems, as well as classic straight-ahead Jazz, Blues, American Popular Song and Brazilian Bossa Nova.

Diane Hubka won international acclaim when her debut CD, Haven't We Met, with alto sax legend Lee Konitz, was nominated for a 1999 Jazz Award for Best Recording Debut, alongside Stefon Harris, Ravi Coltrane and Brian Blade. Critic Scott Yanow heralded her second CD, Look No Further, as "one of the best in recent times." Her newest outing, You Inspire Me is a tribute (and a testament) to her love of jazz guitar and features the singer with seven of the world's top virtuoso guitarists, including Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins and Romero Lubambo with the entire Brazilian Trio Da Paz.

Performing in major jazz clubs across the country, she has appeared in New York at Blue Note, Birdland, Knitting Factory, Jazz Gallery and Chez Suzette; the Mellon Central Pennsylvania Jazz Festival, on stage at the Philadelphia Guitar Show; and Washington D.C.'s Blues Alley. Returning to her home town, she has been the featured soloist with the Western Maryland Symphony. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she has performed at the Jazz Bakery, the Jazz Spot, Lowes Santa Monica Hotel and Spazio.

In September 2002 she began playing the 7-string guitar, and in June 2003 she played on stage at the Philadelphia Guitar Show, on behalf of American Archtop Guitars by Dale Unger. Concord Jazz recording artist Howard Alden, one of the world's foremost 7-string players, says "I think voice plus seven-string guitar are an ideal combination. It's rare to find someone who can perform with both single-handedly, but Diane Hubka does just that - beautifully!"

This Blue Ridge Mountain-bred artist grew up in Western Maryland in a musical family and learned violin, trombone and guitar from an early age. In college she joined her guitar teacher's group as a singer, and developed her love and knowledge of jazz. "My teacher, Bill Bittner, playing his big, hollow-bodied Gibson L-7 guitar with a Charlie Christian pick-up, made a permanent impression on my young jazz ears!" she says.

In 1989 she moved to New York, after winning a jazz fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She studied voice, piano and guitar with some of New York's premier jazz artists including: Anne Marie Moss, Sheila Jordan, Barry Harris, Harold Danko, Connie Crothers, Gene Bertoncini and Howard Alden.

Diane Hubka currently lives in Los Angeles, where she accepts students for private instruction. She also conducts workshops on jazz improvisation throughout the country.

Diane Hubka is proud to endorse:
Schaefer Guitars and Raezer's Edge Speaker Cabinets